Two people were taken to hospital after being overcome by smoke as they tried to rescue three cats from a blaze that engulfed their flat.
Crews from Carlisle’s east and west stations were called to the ground-floor property at John Johnston Court, off Hayton Road in Harraby, just after 3.15pm yesterday.
Firefighters believe the blaze was caused by a candle which had been left unattended in the open-plan kitchen and living area, while the occupants were away from the flat.
Four firefighters tackled the blaze.
Stuart Adams, watch manager at Carlisle East fire station, said that firefighters ultimately rescued the cats from the property but that two people were taken to the Cumberland Infirmary after suffering from a “good deal” of smoke inhalation.
He said: “When we first arrived we saw it was a well-developed fire. Smoke from the property was blowing around the street. We gathered information to make sure there was no-one else inside and the crew immediately began to bring the fire under control until a second pump arrived. The residents were out of the flat at the time and when they came back there was a fully developed fire. They’d suffered a good deal of smoke inhalation – soot in their nostrils and that sort of thing – because there were three cats inside that they’d tried to rescue.”
Mr Adams said the fire was contained within the ground-floor flat, but that it had spread throughout. Firefighters remained at the scene for more than an hour.
Mr Adams added: “We believe there was a candle inside that had been left unattended. While they were out, something has happened and that’s caused a fire that has spread.
“If you’re using candles or a naked flame, then it’s important to make sure that they have been extinguished before you leave your property.”